The Ragged project operates in informal spaces. The spaces we are interested in are known as ‘third places’ which belong to everyone and are those which foster relaxed atmospheres. These non-institutional spaces are needed to generate certain types of dynamic between people which allow us to comfortably share what we know on our own terms. The phrase ‘third place’ comes from the work of Ray Oldenburg.
His work illustrates how certain places are anchors of community life and enable dynamic atmospheres in which social interaction can occur without barriers. Societies are built, in part, by informal meeting places that foster the rich connections necessary for the cultural life of a healthy community. Oldenburg suggests the following as markers of “third places”:
- Free or inexpensive
- Food and drink
- Highly accessible
- Involve regulars
- Welcoming and comfortable
- A junction for new and old friends
So we meet in places like pubs, cafes, and libraries – put our feet up, have a bite to eat and a drink, and also either get the chance to present what we know to a room, or listen to someone sharing what they have invested their time in learning. It is a dialogical space, where everyone is involved in a social learning process, be it gaining the skills to speak in front of a room of people, or become an active listener, or finding constructive voices to feedback on what thoughts you have….and of course, it should be fun.